Little People, TGI Friday, Chomsky, Mountain Men, Barbering, Trees


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Little People, Big Woes In Hollywood

Seth Abramovitch | Variety | 26th August 2016

“The politically correct term is ‘little people’, abbreviated to ‘LPs’. ‘Dwarf’ is acceptable, the plural being ‘dwarfs’ — not ‘dwarves’. ‘Midget’ has long been considered offensive, referred to by many LPs as ‘the M-word’. Historically, the term ‘midget’ referred specifically to pituitary dwarfism, which produces LPs with proportions similar to average-size adults. In Hollywood’s golden age there was a turf war between proportional and disproportionate little people, and some of those attitudes linger” (6,020 words)

The Death Of Flair

Lisa Hix | Collectors' Weekly | 11th August 2016

Contained within this interesting-in-itself history of kitsch antiques as restaurant decor is an even more captivating history of the pioneer of the style, TGI Friday’s, which began in the 1960s as a chain of singles bars trading in sexual liberation and counter-cultural chic. The Memphis branch was said to have “so much atmosphere that you have to push it aside to get in”. The moral backlash of the early 1980s encouraged TGI Friday’s to reinvent itself as a chain of casual family diners (12,300 words)

The Chomsky Puzzle

Tom Bartlett | Chronicle Of Higher Education | 25th August 2016

Tom Wolfe’s new book The Kingdom of Speech is a failed and faintly frivolous attempt to debunk the work of Noam Chomsky. By contrast, Decoding Chomsky, the product of a decade’s research by British anthropologist Chris Knight, presents a major challenge to Chomsky’s scientific reputation. According to Knight, Chomsky’s core ideas are “nonsensical”. His methods are “not conscientious scholarship, but devious, Machiavellian tricks designed to ensure victory by sheer foul play” (3,100 words)

The Ballad Of Johnny France

Richard Ben Cramer | Bronx Banter | 9th January 2012

Epic retelling of a Montana sheriff’s hunt for two “mountain men” who kidnap a woman and flee into the wilds. Reads like a cross between Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy. “There was a big juniper at the head of the draw. Tracks went to the right of the tree. He had a hunch. He went to the left. And there they were. Just below him, under a big Douglas fir. They had venison cooking. They looked up at the plane, didn’t see him. Johnny shifted his rifle. The kid turned first. A little cry escaped him” (8,277 words)

What I’ve Learned Cutting Hair In Jail

André Lyons | Marshall Project | 25th August 2016

A prison barber recounts his trade. PG-13 for language. “Since they’re in the hole, they have their arms and legs shackled outside their cells. As soon as they sit down, the first thing I do is take out my mirror and give it to them. For most of the inmates, it’s the first time they’ve seen their reflection in a month — and they’re always shocked. They look tired, ragged, and sick. Haircuts in jail are supposed to be a one-guard buzz cut against the grain, but I’ll ask the guys how they want theirs done” (1,029 words)

The Wood Wide Web

Hasan Chowdhury | New Statesman | 26th August 2016

“Spend enough time among trees and you may get a sense that they have been around for centuries, tall and self-sufficient. But anchoring trees everywhere, and enjoining them into an almost singular superorganism, is a very intimate relationship between their roots and microbes called mycorrhizal fungi. The fungi have minerals which the tree needs, and the trees have carbon which the fungi need. The transfer of nitrogen to trees is such that, without the swap, trees would be toy-sized” (916 words)

Video of the day: Memories Of Painting

What to expect:

Visual compositions created using paint, oil, oat milk, liquid soap (2’05”)

Thought for the day

Much can be tolerated by condemning it
Steven Carter

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